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Food for a pet's death?

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A rather morbid topic, perhaps, but I'm wondering whether anyone's made particular dishes or shared dishes to commemorate a beloved pet's passing?

I'm in the unfortunate situation of having to say goodbye to my adored first feline. He's seen me through my first apartment, my marriage, my divorce, and several international moves. Now he has a weak heart and failing kidneys and it looks like it's time to bid him adieu. He's had a rich life, but my heart is breaking.

I'm also reminded of a Shiva that a friend threw for her beloved dog, and how lovely it was to commemorate the event with her. I'd love to hear from other pet owners and/or friends about their own food-related pet passings: what did you make? For yourself or your pet? How did you commemorate and/or celebrate your pet? Favourite food memories?

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  1. I have never heard of this, but it sounds like a lovely way of commemorating your pet's life. I wish I'd thought of something like this when my Max passed away--a celebration of his life, perhaps sometime after the actual passing so that the raw emotions of grief have been somewhat tempered (and Max was an inveterate foodie cat, too!)

    I am sorry to hear about your cat. Sounds like he has/had a very loving owner.

    1. My beloved cat Angus passed away two years ago at the advanced age of 18. He adored pitted cured black olives. I always think of him when I eat them, which is often.
      I'm sorry to hear that you have to say goodbye. You wrote that he had a rich life, which I'm sure had much to do with his owner. Remember him in that way.

      4 Replies
      1. re: bushwickgirl

        Aw. My 17? 18?-year old cat (now in dad's loving are) loves raw cabbage. Strange kitty cravings are so adorable.

        1. re: ChristinaMason

          And my 18-1/2 year old cat, Cee-Cee, who I said farewell to back in Feb 2002, loved buttered peas. One of my current cats (now 15yo) love American cheese. Well, almost any cheese, actually, but American is her favorite. She comes running when she hears the wrapper being opened. Momma gets her grilled cheese; Scooter gets her Am cheese.

          My sympathies to the OP. It is so hard to let a beloved pet go. Is there any human food that he particularly likes? Perhaps a dinner item featuring that ingredient (when you feel you can do so) and remembering the silly ways he made you laugh would help.

          1. re: LindaWhit

            one of my God-cats loves cheese too! and packaged luncheon meat... and potato chips... and licking butter off of toast!

            my other God-cat loves rice pudding.... not good for him I'm sure, but it was by mistake to find out that he liked it :-)

        2. re: bushwickgirl

          How funny - my beloved cat is an Angus too, and at 13 his various health issues are catching up with him. He loves cheddar cheese and plain yogurt and kefir. I suspect I'll always think of him when I eat kefir...

        3. I don't have any suggestions but just want to extend my condolences. I've never had to put a pet down, but will eventually, and it's something I dread terribly.

          1. My heart goes out to you..so so very sorry to hear about your Max...I have a six year old Lab mix (see my photo) that is my child..I often think about when the time comes for her to leave me how I'm going to handle it. My Yoki loves cheese so I guess that will be one thing that I may not be able to eat without thinking of her.

            However you feel you need to honor her is what you should do..and take care....

            1. I don't have any suggestions; we did a yard burial and spent time story telling when our 18 y.o. Fabulous Feline finally succumbed to long time kidney failure.

              I just want to say that I know how hard it is. Maurice was with me from young singlehood to marriage and my daughter had never lived without him until age 13 when we had to let him go.

              1. Well, when my dog was at the vet's and dying of kidney failure (according to the vet), I brought him raw venison. It was the first thing he ate in days, and he actually got better and lived another 18 months. When he got sick the 2nd time, even venison wouldn't convince him to eat and we knew we'd lost him. I still remember fondly giving him his favorite treat.

                Personnally, i don't know if I would make a dish to commemorate the loss, even though it were meant as a celebration. i think it might put me off that food forever. Maybe put a bottle of wine in the cellar to be consumed on the anniversary of his death?

                My condolences.

                1. I'm sorry for the imminent loss of your beloved pet.

                  Nigella Lawson has a chapter on food for a funeral in "Feast," and there's a recipe called rosemary remembrance cake. I once made it for a neighbor when her cocker spaniel had to be put down. I think she appreciated it.

                  http://www.nigella.com/recipe/recipe_...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: NYCkaren

                    cdnexpat my heart goes out to you. We lost a number of dear canines and cats this past year. Not us personally but friends, relatives and neighbours. Seems like everyone around us were having to say goodbye to some wonderful companions, including a guide dog.

                    When Kirk, our best friend's guide dog, had to suddenly be put down this past fall, we all gathered that evening and had dinner together. Kind of like a shiva. It was nice that my friend did not have to be alone that evening and I know she appreciated the company. I must admit though, food was not the centre - in fact I can't recall what we had. Probably defrosted some chili.

                    I hope you take comfort in knowing you gave your pet a wonderful life.

                  2. After I brought my cat to the vet for the last time, a friend and I went out and had what we thought the cat would enjoy, as a way to honor him: anchovies, tuna, cheese, shrimp, sardines, red wine (okay, that last was not so much about the cat).

                    It upset me that I wasn't able to feed Joey his favorite foods in his final days, but he gave up eating before I fully realized what was happening. I think of him now every time I have yogurt, because that cat would CUT you to get some yogurt.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: small h

                      My Otto LOVES activia. And pancake batter.

                    2. I write this in memory of my sweet little Lilly that we helped pass on May 15, 2009 from CRF. She also was my first cat and the animal love of my life.

                      Lilly and I shared a love for all things salty & crunchy. I picture her first licking off the salt, then having to break off small pieces for her to eat. She was so teeny tiny. She adored the water best from Trader Joe's No-Salt White Albacore Tuna.

                      A few days after her passing my husband & I went to visit a beautiful local Rose garden. Lilly so loved to roll in the rose leaf cuttings, and brush her face in the roses that my husband regularly gifted me with. This will be our annual celebration in honor of my sweet baby.

                      It's so hard but we must let them go if they are suffering. My heart goes out to all of you.

                      1. I've never made or shared dishes to commemorate a beloved pet's passing, and as much as the beautiful girl in my avatar is very much my heart, I'm not sure I will when the time comes (hopefully a long, long, LONG time from now). In fact, I can't imagine I'll feel much like eating whatsoever. :(

                        I'd say, as with the important people I've loved and lost, I hold tight to my memories. That my gorgeous, well-behaved cat would throw all dignity out the window to try to snag shrimp, or sushi when we eat it at home. That she loved rich treats such as ice cream and eggnog. That my husky cross loved to take a ride to Dairy Queen for a kiddie cup of vanilla ice milk...or that she once stole a turkey from our neighbor's porch on Thanksgiving. Or that I used to bake her peanut butter dog cookies.

                        Just because I wouldn't have a formal, food-centric event doesn't mean you shouldn't. Do what feels right for you. Maybe grab your best friend and have a sushi feast--can you think of a tribute your cat might have enjoyed more? :) I know your heart is breaking and my heart goes out to you. Remember the good times and don't worry too much about the food.

                        1. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about your beloved kitty. It sounds like he's been a faithful and cherished companion. I can understand why it breaks your heart to say goodbye. I think having a lovely meal to commemorate your kitty would be a sweet and fitting way to celebrate kitty's life.

                          If it were me, I'd have a small meal of all of my kitty's favorite foods: the only people food she likes are vanilla ice cream (the cheapest brand possible) and popcorn. Her favorite cat food is salmon flavored, and it's shaped like little triangles.

                          So, maybe, I'd have a little meal of popcorn appetizer, and salmon entree--maybe even cut into triangles if you wanted to get fancy--, and vanilla ice cream for dessert. (Obviously, you'll want to adjust the menu to match your kitty's particular tastes.)

                          Or, if you have close friends who have cherished pets who would understand, you could even invite them over to celebrate with you. You could make it potluck and ask them to bring a dish that reminds them of their pet, or you could just serve salmon mousse and ice cream in honor of your kitty. You could even symbolically bury kitty's collar or favorite toy in the yard, or anything along those lines that will help you feel like you're getting a little closure. I always think those kinds of ceremonies, even if they are made up, are nice.

                          Whichever route you take, I hope this celebration eases the pain at least a little.

                          ~TDQ

                          1. *hug*

                            I'm so sorry, cdnexpat... I feel for you so keenly. Do you know about the Rainbow Bridge? I know the stories and poems are just insanely cheesy... but they move me and I find it helpful to bawl my eyes out, after. When I'm grief stricken, I personally cannot eat at all, the grief takes up so much room in my belly. But if you're able to eat something, maybe a rainbow cake or cookies with rainbow colored chips would be fun, and of course all of his favorite human foods.

                            I wish you both well. xoxoxo

                            14 Replies
                            1. re: cimui

                              Do NOT tell that story, because it is in the dopiest, sappiest thing ever, but it makes me cry, and then I feel like an idiot. See also: the part of The Lovely Bones in which the heroine's dog joins her in the great beyond.

                              1. re: small h

                                *grimace* I already know I can't watch that movie. I'm probably the biggest sap ever. And yeah, I feel like an idiot, too, because even though I'm pretty sure I don't believe in a land on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge, I still like thinking about my deceased animal loved ones being over there... which makes me cry... which makes me feel like even more of an idiot!

                                Anyway...

                                Rainbows, rainbows, rainbows. Unicorns. Rainbows. Rainbow cake.

                                This one is awesomely bad! http://bethecake.com/wp-content/uploa... And this: http://www.likecool.com/Body/Food/Rai...

                                1. re: cimui

                                  I'm sufficiently scared of both cakes. :) The clouds on the first cake make it look as though it's blooming clouds...the latter is "This is your cake on drugs!"

                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                    "This is your cake on drugs!"

                                    Either the cake or the baker.;-))

                                    On a more sober note, I cannot read the rainbow bridge thing without bursting into tears. I like to think all my animals that have gone before me are being watched over by my Mom, who was a consumate cat lover. It gives me comfort on a lot of levels.

                                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                                      Oh, I know...the rainbow bridge gets me, too. Hey, listen, none of us would have responded here if we didn't have special bonds with our animal friends. I embrace my sappiness (or sensitivity) and similarly, believe my Poppy is up there somewhere with not only his dogs, but all my animals, too. No different than my affinity for Mexico's Day of the Dead and my wish for those who have passed to come back and visit me--and grab a bite of their favorite things to eat--on my birthday.

                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                        oh gosh... my dogs remains were returned to me in a lovely velvet bag that reads "Until we meet again at the Rainbow Bridge." It sits on my mantle, and every time I read it, I get teary.

                                    2. re: kattyeyes

                                      Hmm... You're making me wonder where the Rainbow Bridge *really* takes you. ;)

                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                        the second link reminds me of doug henning's pants and i was terrified of him as a kid.

                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                          that rainbow cake is just like doug hennings' pants -- you are *exactly* right, hotoynoodle! (oh gee -- i didn't know he died 10 years ago at age 52. ok, in celebration of his life: http://www.virtualmagie.com/images/ma...

                                          )

                                          his costume may've been the inspiration for the rainbow bridge AND cake!

                                      2. re: cimui

                                        that second cake deserves a soundtrack: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4m17iH...

                                        ~~~~~
                                        so sorry about the kitty. i've lost several over the years. it's tough. eat the "people foods" the kitty loved, and remember how much kitty loved them and delighted when he got them.

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          Oh dear. I just watched that entire video to the end and really enjoyed it. Not sure what that means.

                                          1. re: cimui

                                            These links were so great. They made us laugh!! Thanks for sharing. The rainbow cake, in particular, was an experience all by itself...

                                        2. re: cimui

                                          I'm not sure which I cried more at reading, "the lovely bones or Marley and me". I am a total wuss when it comes to animals and children (and old people).

                                          1. re: nvcook

                                            When we watched Marley & Me, my son suddenly looked at me at the end and said quietly "Mom, are we gonna have to go through that with our dog some day?"

                                            It hadn't dawned on me that he hadn't tossed this over before that...and it was so, so hard to tell him that yeah, some day we'll have to go through that, but hopefully it will be a very long time.

                                            He was very quiet for a very long time...and I think it changed his relationship with his dog forever -- for the better, I think, but still a tough thought process to have to wrestle with. (and it's a wrestling match we can't be of much help with...we can answer questions, but they have to sort that one in their own minds)

                                    3. We had to put our Yorkie Kelsey down just after Thanksgiving. It happened a bit suddenly, but the morning before we took her to be put down we gave her raw carrots, her favorite treat. It took us all a good couple of days to get our appetites back, so we didn't really have a meal in celebration of her life, but I think of her every time I ear a baby carrot. I love the idea of sitting Shiva, or something similar. I think something like that would have helped.
                                      Kelsey also loved vanilla ice cream, which we very rarely gave her, shrimp and bell peppers. She also tended to beg at the table more than usual when we were eating pasta.
                                      My sincerest condolances to you. Sending lots of positive thoughts your way.

                                      1. Our Max (Lab mix) is gone now, for a few days I had to hit myself over the head with "*You're* the one that's sad, the dog is not suffering AT ALL!" It truly helped.

                                        For comfort, macaroni & cheese (your favorite) and date bars. I ate vegetarian for a while, it just seemed right.
                                        I'm not ashamed to say a strong drink helped too. Here's to all the pets!

                                        1. cdnextpat,
                                          My heart goes out to you, in the impendng loss of your very much loved cat. I also completely understand how you are feeling. Our 8-year-old bloodhound/rottweiler mix, Zoey, has terminal bone cancer in her leg. The vet has told us there is really no treatment, only "comfort care"., until her pain can't be managed any more. She gets pain medication every day, and has good days and not so good days, but doesn't appear to be suffering too much yet. She is still able to walk, and even get up and downstairs. She loves to go out and roll and poke her nose in fresh snow, so we have honored that request, sometimes even in the middle of the night:) As for food....our dogs are pretty well "spoiled" when it comes to food anyway....they are regular after supper plate lickers, and get all manner of treats, but we have always been pretty careful with "portion control" of treats, and limiting things we thought might not be good for them, such as chocolate (alhtough that is something they have always begged for!) Since Zoey is terminal, and losing weight, portion control is no longer an issue, so this Christmas, she got all the cookies she wanted! Even chocolate ones! She gets several treats of her choice every day, and I am so glad we are able to make the last days of her life as happy as possible!
                                          Again, my condolences about your beloved kitty.

                                          1. The dog on the left in my avatar will be 15 next Wednesday, and we are already on a couple of years of borrowed time with him (after a miraculous recovery from an auto-immune anemia with the aid of only homeopathy and a raw diet). I know the impending loss of your beloved friend hangs heavy on your heart, as does our dog's, but what a wonderful way to celebrate your kitty's life. Gator read the Pug book, and never met a food he doesn't like, so it will be quite the feast when we borrow your idea.
                                            In total sympathy and empathy...

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: JenJeninCT

                                              I have a 14 year old golden retriever that is failing whom we love dearly. I understand and sympathize. Whatever he wants, he usually gets (at least now).

                                            2. The night before my beloved bichon Sam passed away at 18 1/2 years, I got her a slice of creamy NY style cheesecake, one of her favorites...she could not even lick it, that's how I knew definitively it was time...Lucy (the little girl in my avatar) and I wound up sharing it. Sam was a true chowhound--she once snuck a half dozen cannolis, and a prime filet mignon. When she was blind and deaf, she would still show up in the kitchen when a tomato was being sliced. These food related remembrances of Sam make me smile now, hope in time your memories will make you smile...sorry for your loss.

                                              1. I'm concerned that if one associates foods with a profound loss, it's going to be troublesome later on.

                                                A pet burial provides needed closure. I've never heard of it before but a shiva is nice for the bereaved.

                                                Luscious, the cat, died at age 21. In people years. She'd provided me tons of companionship and then when I married a non-cat person Luscious provided my mom and dad with a playful companion they loved and enjoyed.

                                                Luscious arrived with a roommate of mine when she was a tiny kitten. In fact, she was weaned too early so I had to feed her droplets of milk from my fingers for a week until we figured out what to do.

                                                She discovered me eating from a tin of mackerel fillets -- and it was the determination with which she attacked that tin that was a harbinger of her love for this food. I swear this cat *knew* a can of Roland mackerel fillets in olive oil -- unopened. She'd find them under the Christmas tree with bows around them and she knew which presents were hers. She'd rub up around them and yowl a little until I'd open the can.

                                                Recently I was shopping in a little specialty store and spotted Roland mackerel fillets on the shelf and tears started running down my cheeks. I left the store right away and had to sit in my car with a cigarette for a moment before continuing my day...

                                                1. Cdnexpat, I'm sorry that you're going through this.

                                                  A few months ago, my sister and I were crying on the phone about the dog I had just had to put down. She told me that, years ago when she was driving her dog to the vet for his last visit, she kept slipping him the chocolate that he loved, and he happily gulped it down.

                                                  After my puppy (18 year old, but still my puppy) was gone, I kept saying "Where's a dog when you need one" when I dropped an egg or some cheese on the floor, or when a mac and cheese pan needed to be licked.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: mr99203

                                                    mr, this made me laugh through my teary eyes. I lost my 14 year old best buddy (still my avatar) last November, and for months afterwards as I was at the kitchen counter fixing food I had to stop myself from throwing scraps of vegetables, fruit, bread, etc. over my shoulder to him. In true beagle fashion, that boy would eat anything. And in the 24 hours before our last trip to the vet, I let him have whatever he wanted and lots of it. As for me, my friend who stayed with me through the process and aftermath plied me with all my favorite comfort foods - french fries, meatballs, chocolate, red wine - but nothing really interested me.

                                                  2. we've lost two family members in the past two years. one of my dear boys was a golden, and passed heart-breakingly from spleen cancer that had metastasized; the other a weimeraner who passed *wonderfully* in his sleep. for these two, we all simply got together and shared memories. those in the family who wanted to ate hamburgers in memory. cody, the golden, loved carrots, so i ate those for him.

                                                    my best friend's dog used to go nuts for bagels, so when Murphy passed, i attended the family's bagel breakfast. it was absolutely lovely.

                                                    my heart goes out to you, for there is no pain like an animal lost. with them, the relationships are unconflicted, the love unconditional, and the added richness to your life, immeasurable. may the days following grow easier, and may you carry his love with you always.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Emme

                                                      amen

                                                    2. My heart goes out to you. I know how hard it is, I've been there several times. Pets are the ultimate people pleasers. He may want you to enjoy what makes you happy or what gives you comfort.

                                                      1. A lifetime of adopting " retired" greyhounds who live short lives:
                                                        Toast- would eat ( and did ) anything but shrimp...
                                                        Ariel-had a prediliction for manchego cheese ( still can't buy it and she would smell it before I brought it into the house )
                                                        Demon- sweet old guy who just loved a trip to Toscaninni's for a scoop of vanilla ice cream
                                                        Molly- just give me a small piece of bread Mom, please We once caught her on her hind legs stealing a loaf of bread off the counter and when she heard us behind her she nudged it back from the edge of the counter to the middle with her nose ...I SWEAR
                                                        Dash ( the current 7.5 yo) - are you grilling ? are you, are you ????Well are you ?
                                                        My heart never ached as hard as when we lost them and I am grieving with you....but the memories! And thank you...we will have a memorial feast the next time we have to...what a beautiful idea for our foodie 4 legged companions

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: capeanne

                                                          I'm so sorry to hear about your kitty. I see you and your kitty have inspired so many of us to prepare memorial feasts. My husband and I have had 5 of our beloved kitties die over the years, and while we've not thus far had memorial feasts, we do make a point of going out for a nice meal after a day of mourning in order to nurture ourselves. We now have four cats: one of them steals turkey a la the Bumpis dogs in "A Christmas Story," one of them is crazy about hummus, one loved smoked salmon and one loves cream cheese.

                                                          I hope you find some measure of comfort and nurturing in your memorial - it's a wonderful idea.

                                                        2. I think the idea of a shiva for your cat is awesome. We're owned by nine cats--it used to be ten but we had to put our beloved Puck to sleep in June at age 11 due to liver cancer. Whenever I open a can of tuna the beasts come running, and six months later I still find myself thinking "where's Puck?" when I look at the gathering. He was also a big fan of boiled ham--when I offered him a piece he would take it with grave dignity, take it off to eat, then come back and tap my leg with his paw if he wanted more. He apparently taught a couple of the younger cats that trick but none of them did it until he was gone. Very weird.

                                                          Stay strong and cherish your memories.

                                                          1. This essay by Ben Hur Lampman has absolutely nothing to do with food, but it might help, nonetheless.

                                                            Where To Bury A Dog
                                                            There are various places within which a dog may be buried. We are thinking now of a setter, whose coat was flame in the sunshine, and who, so far as we are aware, never entertained a mean or an unworthy thought. This setter is buried beneath a cherry tree, under four feet of garden loam, and at its proper season the cherry strews petals on the green lawn of his grave. Beneath a cherry tree, or an apple, or any flowering shrub of the garden, is an excellent place to bury a good dog. Beneath such trees, such shrubs, he slept in the drowsy summer, or gnawed at a flavorous bone, or lifted head to challenge some strange intruder. These are good places, in life or in death. Yet it is a small matter, and it touches sentiment more than anything else.

                                                            For if the dog be well remembered, if sometimes he leaps through your dreams actual as in life, eyes kindling, questing, asking, laughing, begging, it matters not at all where that dog sleeps at long and at last. On a hill where the wind is unrebuked and the trees are roaring, or beside a stream he knew in puppyhood, or somewhere in the flatness of a pasture land, where most exhilarating cattle graze. It is all one to the dog, and all one to you, and nothing is gained, and nothing lost -- if memory lives. But there is one best place to bury a dog. One place that is best of all.

                                                            If you bury him in this spot, the secret of which you must already have, he will come to you when you call -- come to you over the grim, dim frontiers of death, and down the well-remembered path, and to your side again. And though you call a dozen living dogs to heel they should not growl at him, nor resent his coming, for he is yours and he belongs there.

                                                            People may scoff at you, who see no lightest blade of grass bent by his footfall, who hear no whimper pitched too fine for mere audition, people who may never really have had a dog. Smile at them then, for you shall know something that is hidden from them, and which is well worth the knowing.

                                                            The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of his master.

                                                            by Ben Hur Lampman

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: ricepad

                                                              Ricepad, I thank you, through my gushing tears....

                                                            2. My heart goes out to you. I have lost 11 beloved furbabies over the years, each loss is felt deeply.
                                                              hugs,
                                                              LadyCook

                                                              1. Folks, we're pet-lovers, too, but just a gentle reminder to please try to keep your posts food-related.

                                                                Thank you!

                                                                1. Now to think of it, two cats I've had loved the smell of aromatic spices like curry powder and ginger. I can't open a jar of curry without thinking of my Zelda, she did that cat smelling reaction that cats do when I opened a tin of curry and put it close to her nose. She reacted to it better than catnip.. If I were to do a meal to commemorate her I'd have curry. Another idea would be to have Middle Eastern food since the Egyptians were so fond of cats. Whatever you choose my heart is with you and above all be good to yourself.

                                                                  1. I'm sitting on my sofa covered in cats- one on my chest, one by my side, one reclining over both shins. These posts are so bitter-sweet. The one on my chest, Jonah, has been licking my tears as I've been reading.

                                                                    I've remembered my passed animals in many ways, but now I think sitting shiva will be good in the (hopefully far off) future.

                                                                    I have taken food in a different direction. Near my kitty burial spots I have planted catnip and other favorites. I also have planted things that attract their favorite things to watch, like sunflowers for the ones that liked birds, etc.

                                                                    So many people don't get how your animals are truly family and friends. It has been wonderful to hear the stories from others who love them as I do.

                                                                    Thank you!

                                                                    1. I just wanted to thank everyone for sharing their stories about their pets and their food memories. I had no idea that Lionel was in such good company! On his last day, he only wanted to eat watermelon. Along with cucumber, strawberries, tomatoes, bread, and honeydew melon, watermelon was one of his most favourite things to eat in the world.

                                                                      I knew it was time, though, when even warmed duck fat drizzled over salmon made him turn his nose away. It was very upsetting to see a cat who would outwit me and steal food, now completely uninterested. This was the same cat who, when younger, I would find nowhere in sight after I dropped off the groceries a scant 2 minutes after arriving -- his suspicious absence would be marked by a half-chewed tomato on the floor, or a torn bag of gnawed bread in a corner. I can't tell you the number of times I was awakened, yet again, by the clatter of the garbage pail on the floor, hidden safely (so I thought) behind a tightly shut kitchen cupboard door. I never did find out how the heck he got in there.

                                                                      Since we've had to say goodbye to him, we've been slowly finishing the morsels of watermelon from the container from which we'd fed him his last pieces. Maybe it was unconscious, but we finished the remainder of the watermelon Lionel had shared, on the day his ashes returned to us. Somehow, that was a comfort.

                                                                      That, and strange coincidences, like seeing this image in the MoMA while trying to distract ourselves: http://www.janinegreen.com/web_images... The cat on the can has the same markings as Lionel.

                                                                      Thanks again for sharing! My sympathies and condolences go out to those of you also dealing with a loss. I raise my glass to you and wish you bon appetit as you also remember your beloved family friend warmly.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: cdnexpat

                                                                        Keep those memories close of how he stole groceries and dumped the garbage pail, cdn. They'll make you laugh and remember all the good times with Lionel.

                                                                        1. re: cdnexpat

                                                                          >>>>>strange coincidences, like seeing this image in the MoMA while trying to distract ourselves: http://www.janinegreen.com/web_images... The cat on the can has the same markings as Lionel.<<<<<<

                                                                          now THAT was really cool! on watermelons!!!!

                                                                        2. Having had our darling Milan succumb to kidney failure at 19 1/2 last April - his last meal was a mouthful of steamed shrimp, his absolute favorite - we have found that the only balm to the sadness is the joy of a new kitty joining the household. We were very lucky in finding our Liam, who is a worthy successor - charming and funny with a dash of Milan's gravitas. Today is his first birthday - scallops for dinner for all - and a birthday cake for us to salute him with (Dorie Greenspan's 15 min magic, no time to make anything else tonight).

                                                                          1. I went through something similar with Binky back in April. I had him through moves and a long term relationship, a few unpleasant short ones and I had him when I met my husband. He lived though 5 years of diabetes (two shots a day) and babysitters, he dismissed one! I stayed home with him the day we put him to sleep with cancer. I probably should have done it a few days earlier... He would not eat but he loved Kraft Mac and Cheese, so I made a big box and gave him noodles to lick! The rest of the weekend we ate and drank and talked about him! Take care of yourself and celebrate his life with foods you like and make you feel good!

                                                                            1. So sorry to hear about your cat. I have dogs, don't know much about cats, but, in the Midwest, the traditional meal for shiva is always a deli platter with loads of salads, pickles and olives. My dogs would really enjoy that too, they adore salami and corned beef.

                                                                              The traditional funeral meal item is a whole, hard boiled egg. This may seem strange, but our rabbi explained to me many years ago that egg symbolizes "the circle of life", how there is no beginning and no end.

                                                                              1. I am sitting here at working with tears streaming down my face. It's a beautiful thing to read how much our pets have enriched our lives.

                                                                                My pit bull/American bull dog mix, Rocco has a long way to go...he's only 1 1/2 years old. My husband tells me at least once a week how much of a wreck I'm going to be when he's gone - he's my little boy.

                                                                                If I even had an appetite after saying goodbye, I would eat his favorite foods - lots of bread and crackers, chicken, spicy pepperoni, cheese, yogurt, oranges, plastic bottle caps and Dad's favorite Patriots hat (I kid!) and carrots.

                                                                                My thoughts are with you Cdnexpat.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: krisrishere

                                                                                  I'd forgotten all about this thread until today when I was looking for my recommendation of a BBQ place for someone. Reading through the thread brought back so many memories. A brief update: I guess weird coincidences around Lionel's death kept going for a while. Besides the cats on watermelon artwork we saw at the MoMA the week after his death, I realise that the last post to this thread was an hour after I got married for the second time (January 27, 2010, 1:30 p.m.); then a month after Lionel died, I dreamt the only dream I ever had of my cat after his death. In the dream, he needed me to rescue him--lo and behold, that evening a puppy was abandoned in our apartment building's lobby. Never had a dog abandoned in a building before, or since. We ended up keeping the dog, despite having no intention to do so, and now we feel extremely fortunate every day that he came into our lives.

                                                                                  Every year we will have a piece of watermelon on the anniversary of Lionel's death and celebrate his memory. Thanks to everyone for sharing such lovely, touching memories and stories of sharing food with your pets.

                                                                                  1. re: cdnexpat

                                                                                    Lionel was there in your dream to let you know it was OK to let him go - there was someone new coming into your life to love. :-)

                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                      Awww, LindaWhit....very beautiful.

                                                                                2. Oh, I am so sorry........
                                                                                  to lose a beloved companion is no small thing.
                                                                                  We ordered in deli-style. Lox, bagels, spreads.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                                                    Shiva platter? Whatever is comforting is the way to go.

                                                                                  2. R.I.P. Jasper, the black cat who owned me til we had to let him go today with two injections on the rug in my bedroom. He was nutso angsty and aggressive, but incredibly bonded and in need of contact and affection from us, me especially since the day he climbed up to my shoulder and stuck his nose in my face at a shelter 14 years ago. I'm told bottle fed kittens are often strange/nutty.

                                                                                    I'm not going to eat any pet greens, but he loved really good, strong smelling cheddar, that I can manage.

                                                                                    26 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                      Sorry about that MCF, sounds like he lived a nice long life with you

                                                                                      My 16 year old dog past away at home, with me a couple weeks ago at 1am. It's a whole in my heart... she did love broccoli.

                                                                                      1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                        Yes, a hole in the heart, exactly. This is the youngest I've had a cat have to go. So sorry about your dog, that's a ripe old age, but it's never enough, is it?

                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                          Never. She was a granny by dog years but animals are forever children.

                                                                                          1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                            mcf, I feel so much better knowing I'm not alone. Our Mooch, who is approaching 19 years old, is hanging on by a thread right now. We took him to a vet a week ago and they were going to put him to sleep then and there, but we insisted on taking him home to say goodbye overnight and then when he fought the carrier the next day, we decided to let him choose his own time. If it comes to it at this point, it will be at home, with the two younger girls nearby, knowing what is happening. How could we come home empty handed?

                                                                                            Since that day, I have made all his favorites just for him: bacon, brisket, roast beef, and especially a whole turkey. He eats a bit every other day or so but it makes us so happy to see him nibbling on our offerings. He is a chowcat extraordinare, and deserves nothing less. He really did live to eat!

                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                              The way to do it. Sorry about these poor babies and their families, it's a terrible time.

                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                I just tell myself, for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. Our time together was wonderful, and now we have to pay the price. But thanks for your kind words, buttertart.

                                                                                              2. re: coll

                                                                                                He sure landed in the right spot, Coll. My Maurice was 18 and it was still too soon. He let us know when it was time and so did Jasper, these past few days I kept saying it.

                                                                                                You'll know if he needs you to do something.

                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                  Thanks for the reassurance, because I'm learning as I go. So glad he had these extra few days; now we're ready.

                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                    You definitely will know.

                                                                                                  2. re: coll

                                                                                                    My heart goes out to you and yours as well, Miss Coll.

                                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                      Thanks kattyeyes, it just part of the life cycle I guess. So grateful for a few extra days, especially with the nice weather lately. He's been laying on the back porch, listening to the birds, it's teaching me a few things about life too.

                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                        Mine is letting me know RIGHT NOW it's time for the rest of her dinner. They teach us lots of valuable lessons, however unintended--unconditional love being just one of said lessons. Through this sadness, it makes me happy to know so many of our animal friends got lucky with people like you, buttertart, MCF and all the others who treat their pets like part of the family. XO

                                                                                                    2. re: coll

                                                                                                      Coll I came home from Europe may 6. My dog stopped eating approximately may 4 and at the same time developed a respiratory infection.

                                                                                                      I hope that after 2 weeks of antibiotics that she would get back to normal, the wheezing subsided but her appetite never returned.

                                                                                                      I syringe fed her 3-5 times a day for approximately 6 weeks. In that time I had many opinions of neighbors who all have had dogs die to put her down. I just pictured my dog getting excited in the car, just to spend her last moments laying on a metal table with lines going in and out of her.
                                                                                                      While she was definitely slow, she knew where to goto the bathroom, showed excitement in birds, the dogs and my cat.

                                                                                                      I interned doing hospice for my senior year of college, which is the extent of my death dealings. I told myself, as long as she's trying and doesn't seem to be in pain, I'm not going to put her down. She's slowing on her own, I think she can do it here. I also think she held on as long as she could, til I returned home.

                                                                                                      The last 3 days she changed drastically. I fought it over in my mind, whether or not to bring her in. She'd have 1-2 bad breathing episodes a day. On the day before, I weighed her to see she was 13 lbs, down from 17 3 weeks ago, and she was usually 19.

                                                                                                      On the last day, her breathing was visibly worse and her gums and tongue had turned a pale purple. I thought, I can force feed her, but that won't make her lungs work any better. So her breakfast was her last meal.

                                                                                                      I had no idea what to expect but I was ready at any moment to bring her in. She slowed down throughout the day. Had bursts of energy, then would fall. I had gone to bed around 12:50am when a few moments later I heard a sound. I checked to see that she had stood up, i followed her as she ran outside, took a few steps, then began to collapse. I carried her back inside and laid with her for that last minute. She took 3 last breaths and that was it.

                                                                                                      It was one of the worst moments in my life (im 28, she'd been with me since i was 14). She was already gone and i told her "i dont want you to leave me." But i was happy she didnt have to struggle anymore and thankful that she called out to me so i could share that moment with her. She died at home, in my arms. What more perfect way than that?

                                                                                                      If your cats starts whimpering in pain, pissing in bed, face falling into his food, you'll know what to do. But from what you've described it seems like Mooch wants to be at home
                                                                                                      When he goes.

                                                                                                      My little one is buried not far from my previous dog who passed in 1998. I still say hi to her, although not by name as to not disturb the other dogs.

                                                                                                      My dog loved even fruits and vegetables, whenever I eat a mango I scrape the meat off the pit just like she used to do. It was like vegetarian ribs for dogs.

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      1. re: youareabunny

                                                                                                        Oh that is all so similar to me. I feel very guilty that we went to Georgia for a week the end of April, and then another week for a cruise beginning of June. After years of going nowhere for more than a night or two. Mooch always thought he was in charge of everything and I think it was too much for him. The breathing is the tell tale sign, no meds offered by vet (just the needle to end it all) but that seems a bit better lately.

                                                                                                        I'm not kidding myself, I also held our two Siamese babies (15 years young) as they passed on six months apart; with them it took at least a half hour while I too laid with them on the floor and told them it was OK to let go. They had all the similar ups and downs, especially appetite then no appetite. They wouldn't eat for days, then I would make a turkey or roast and they would be trying to climb in the fridge to get at it, and perk up for a week or two. Man they loved their food. It's obvious to see where this is going, I would just prefer it to be natural. But it is a lot of hard work and horrible emotions, animals are so innocent and trust you to take care of everything, so I can see why some people take the easy way out.

                                                                                                        I'm also thinking of the two younger ones who will be left behind. I have heard stories of the surviving dogs whining and staying by the front door, waiting for their friend to return, not knowing what happened. I know that when the Siamese died, Mooch (who was only three years old then) came both times just after they passed in my arms and nudged me, as if to say "sorry". That's just the way he is.

                                                                                              3. re: mcf

                                                                                                Aww, sorry, mcf.

                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                  Awww. thanks. He's now buried beneath some bluestones next to a bench on a lower deck looking over a shade garden. It was weird getting him for the burial. He was still soft and warm when I put him downstairs (bundled in a cotton t shirt) earlier, but stiff as expected tonight, but the seat of the home gym he was on was still warm underneath him.

                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                    Yeah, that's the tough part. But he's near you, and gets to enjoy the shade garden. {{{hugs}}} It's never ever easy. But it *does* ease.

                                                                                                2. re: mcf

                                                                                                  Oh, MCF, my most sincere condolences. I live with a 13-year-old black cat who is absolutely my heart, so I can just imagine your pain. And yes to the cheddar, though mine really wants to get her head on my plate when I make cheesy eggs. Oh, and bacon. ♥ Big hugs from a fellow black cat lover!

                                                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                    He turned me into a black cat lover, that and seeing so many older ones left unadopted due to superstition!

                                                                                                    When we walked into a room full of kittens at a shelter, he leapt onto my toe and bit it. Then, when I put him down and picked up some tabbies my DH wanted, he climbed a stack of empty cages next to me, onto my shoulder, and head swiveled and directly looking into my eyes, nose to nose.

                                                                                                    He was NOT taking "maybe" or "no" for an answer. And he purred like a large motorboat with twin engines.

                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                      Ha that how's our Mooch was, he came to our front door one night when I was cooking brisket and refused to leave forever after. He played every trick in the book. Don't they say your pets choose you, not vice versa?

                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                        My Buster chose me - beautiful golden eyes on a mostly gray cat drew me in. ("I'm only going to LOOK!" I said.) The shelter people pointed out several others that had come in with him. I swore I'd never get a white cat....but Alfie, a cow cat and Buster's brother, grabbed my heart when I picked him up and he wrapped his arms around my neck. The guy I was dating at the time took one look at me and said "OK, so you're taking two, aren't you?"

                                                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                                                          Yes, and the adoption of Jasper and Zoe was the only planned search for cats, kittens in my life, actually. I'd always just sort of taken in the ones that found me. This time, I wanted kittens and we visited so many shelters before finding the two of them.

                                                                                                    2. re: mcf

                                                                                                      I'm sorry, mcf. It's so hard.

                                                                                                      1. re: KrumTx

                                                                                                        Sure is, thanks so much. Tonight I'm trying to focus on the end to his suffering instead of myself. It helps for the moment at least.

                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                          Mcf, I am so sorry about the passing of Jasper. You are such an excellent caregiver to your whole family, including pets.

                                                                                                          I still miss my Mishka, and just hug Ben a little tighter.

                                                                                                          I hope you are getting some rest, and eating well, and that the coming weeks bring you peace and healing.

                                                                                                          1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                            Thanks... strange morning, feeding/medicating only two cats. Having him outside, in the ground while they're in here.

                                                                                                            Glad he's no longer suffering in silence.

                                                                                                    3. My sympathies.

                                                                                                      For a cat, what better than sushi???

                                                                                                      My 17 year old orange tabby is inching closer to the beyond, but he still can wolf down two+ hot dogs at a clip and the dogs won't get between him & his meal!

                                                                                                      I don't give him fish, he'd leave me with only a scale or two....

                                                                                                      Then again - read "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert Heinlein. Interesting notions on death & commemorations.

                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: algct

                                                                                                        Sashimi? (I'm diabetic.)

                                                                                                        Our 10ish y.o. orange tabby is down to 15 lbs from 22 and still husky, but much less diabetic. He is always on the hunt for his next morsel.

                                                                                                        My other one is a tiny dark tortie who eats 2/3 of a can of grain free wet food per day.

                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                          Sashimi works just fine.

                                                                                                          1. re: algct

                                                                                                            Thanks for your thoughts.

                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                              Old image - Naugy is on the left & is still being a "hoover".
                                                                                                              The other two - Brick & Yauser have left their mark on this dimention.

                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              1. re: algct

                                                                                                                I don't understand. I presume you mean the latter two have passed away? If so, my condolences.

                                                                                                                1. re: algct

                                                                                                                  I'm (apparently permanent) foster mother to an orange tabby who would dodge high speed traffic if he thought a morsel might fly out of a vehicle. They sure looked content together!

                                                                                                                  1. re: algct

                                                                                                                    I meant to say dimension.

                                                                                                                    Sorry for the confusion.

                                                                                                                    No dogs were harmed in the making of the above image.

                                                                                                              2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                Sashimi is fine for diabetics - and cats.

                                                                                                                These stories make me cry so much, though I can't stand the Rainbow Bridge stuff as so many people on animal sites take it more literally than religious fundamentalists... My Renzo (black cat, part Siamese, stray kitten who adopted me) is 17 now. He has rather normal cat tastes - loves fish. I had another black 3/4 Siamese, Nadja, who love broccoli and black olives.

                                                                                                                I don't think it is morbid, cdnexpat. It is away of honouring his feline life, and connecting with your human friends, which is very important. You should invite your feline friends' catsitters.

                                                                                                                1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                  "These stories make me cry so much, though I can't stand the Rainbow Bridge stuff as so many people on animal sites take it more literally than religious fundamentalists"

                                                                                                                  Yeah, I'm a tad too crusty for that stuff. I just want my cat back!

                                                                                                                  Failing that, I'm going to mope and cry some more.

                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                    mcf, hope happy memories will soon outweigh your recent sad thoughts.